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Roger Williams University expands its presence downtown

roger williams press conferenceAt an event on Friday, December 19th, Roger Williams University President Donald Farish announced the school’s expansion in the capital city. RWU has agreed to a 12-year lease for 76,566 SF of space at One Empire Plaza, owned by Berkeley Investments Inc.

Although RWU was founded in Providence, and has always had a footprint in the city, its primary focus has been on its main campus in Bristol. By moving students off-campus into the capital city, Farish noted that students will be better prepared for life after graduation.

The new space is expected to open in May 2016 after a complete $11 million renovation and will replace the existing RWU Metro Center at 150 Washington Street. It will have more than 100 conference rooms, meeting spaces and offices, in addition to 18 classrooms. RWU’s School of Continuing Studies, School of Law, and several community outreach and engagement programs, including the Latino Policy Institute, Housing Works RI, and the Community Partnerships Center will all be housed in the new facility. The expansion recognizes changes in higher education, with more mid-career students returning to school to gain new practical skills, and students seeking opportunities for experiential learning.

According to the new dean of the law school, Michael Yelnosky, the building is the manifestation of Roger Williams’ educational philosophy, viewing classroom and fieldwork as part of a whole. Read more about the building plans and its potential impact on the neighborhood here.